Joyce Yazbeck

This project rooted in a crevice in the peak district, realises ideas on building on the edge. The observatory which grows out from the cracks in the rock face, is designed around the human body. The passing public can use the structure in the daytime, for example the interventions inserted into the landscape to help climb up or simply to sit at the peak of the cliffs on the decking and observe the world below. During the night, when the stars come out, a group of amateur astronomers use the building. Arriving at the building one can take refuge in a pod and on special nights group star gazing occurs on the top deck. Within this scheme multiple thresholds are relieved, the boundary between the human body and its physical surroundings, the boundary between the man-made structures and the landscape and finally the boundary between earth and the universe.

Two things inspired this project, the first is the Hillsborough neighbourhood and people, and the the second is the northern kitchen sink drama ‘A Taste of Honey’. An exploration of hidden northern spaces, between and behind houses was undertaken,  because this is where drama in the community unfolds. In alleyways, ginnels, gardens, behind shops, is where you’ll find someone encountering their first kiss and someone trying their first cigarette. I connected ‘A Taste of Honey’ to these space. Throughout this play and other kitchen sink dramas, the characters are stuck in this northern backspace. Likewise the people attending this theatre which on the street looks like any other terrace house, will be engulfed in this setting. From the fact that you must find the entrance through an alleyway through the ‘back’, to the fact that even when you’re inside exposed brickwork surrounds you, you constantly feel like your in an inescapable hidden space.